Dipak Misra

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Dipak Misra
The Chief Justice of India, Justice Shri Dipak Misra during the 24th Foundation Day Function of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in New Delhi on October 12, 2017 (cropped).jpg
Misra in 2017
45th Chief Justice of India
In office
28 August 2017 – 2 October 2018
Appointed byRam Nath Kovind
Preceded byJagdish Singh Khehar
Succeeded byRanjan Gogoi
Justice of the Supreme Court of India
In office
10 October 2011 – 27 August 2017
Appointed byPratibha Patil
Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi
In office
24 May 2010 – 10 October 2011
Preceded byAjit Prakash Shah
Succeeded byD. Murugesan
Chief Justice of the High Court of Patna
In office
1 December 2009 – 23 May 2010
Preceded byPrafulla Kumar Mishra
Succeeded byRekha Manharlal Doshit
Personal details
Born (1953-10-03) 3 October 1953 (age 68)
RelativesRanganath Misra (uncle)[1]
Alma materMadhusudan Law College, Cuttack

Justice Dipak Misra (born 3 October 1953) is an Indian jurist who served as the 45th Chief Justice of India from 28 August 2017 till 2 October 2018.[2][3][4] He is also former Chief Justice of the Patna and Delhi High Courts. He is the nephew of Justice Ranganath Misra, who was the 21st Chief Justice from 1990 to 1991.[1][5] He succeeded J. S. Khehar, the 44th Chief Justice.


Misra being sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India

Misra enrolled at the Bar on 14 February 1977 and practised at the Orissa High Court and the Service Tribunal. He was first appointed as an Additional Judge of the Orissa High Court in 1996. The following year, he was transferred to the Madhya Pradesh High Court, where he was made a Permanent Judge on 19 December 1997. In December 2009, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, serving until May 2010, when he was appointed Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. He was elevated to the Supreme Court on 10 October 2011.[2][6]

Justice Misra had a tenure of thirteen months as chief justice at the Supreme Court after being appointed as the 45th Chief Justice of India on 28 August 2017 until mandatory retirement at 65 years of age, on 2 October 2018 and was succeeded by Ranjan Gogoi.[6][7][8]

Notable judgments[edit]

Justice Misra's judgment in the Own Motion vs State case, requiring Delhi Police to upload First Information Reports (FIR) on their website within 24 hours of the FIRs being lodged. This enables the accused to file appropriate applications before the court for redressal of their grievances.[9]

In a case on Reservation in promotion, Justice Misra and Justice Dalveer Bhandari upheld the Allahabad High Court judgement that reservation in promotions can be provided only if there is sufficient data and evidence to justify the need. The bench rejected the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to provide reservation in promotion on the ground that it failed to furnish sufficient valid data.[10][11][12]

Justice Misra led the bench which rejected the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon's appeal to stop his execution. He then received a death threat in writing, an anonymous letter which says "irrespective of the protection you may avail, we will eliminate you."[13] In an unprecedented overnight hearing at 3:20 am on 30 July 2015, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Misra dismissed Yakub Memon's last-minute petition for a stay on his death warrant. The bench said: "if we have to stay the death warrant it would be a travesty of justice. We do not find any merit in the writ petition".[14] Few hours later, Memon was hanged.[15]

A three judge bench led by Justice Misra has upheld the death sentence awarded to the four convicts of the Nirbhaya rape case on 5 May 2017.[16] Justice Misra authored the landmark judgement confirming the death penalty of four convicts in the brutal 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case which shook the nation and spurred the genesis of a stringent anti-rape law. In his verdict, Justice Misra termed the convicts as those who “found an object for enjoyment in her... for their gross, sadistic and beastly pleasures... for the devilish manner in which they played with her dignity and identity is humanly inconceivable”.[17]

It was a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Misra that settled the 120 year old dispute over the Cauvery river, also called the Ganga of the South and considered to be the lifeline for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The judgment laid down important principles to the effect that rivers are a national resource and not the property of any State and the sharing of waters must be on equitable basis and further placed the requirement of drinking water at the highest pedestal.[18]

The first progress in the Ayodhya dispute occurred during Justice Misra’s tenure when the Bench led by him restricted the dispute only to the title suit and rejected third party interventions. The Bench led by him rejected the plea to refer the ''Ismail Faruqui'' judgment to a Constitution Bench thereby upholding that a mosque was not integral to the Muslim way of worship, which has an important bearing on the dispute.[19]

In a historic unanimous ruling on Section 377 IPC, while presiding over a Constitution Bench, Chief Justice Misra partially struck down Section 377 of IPC citing it to be irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary. Justice Misra observed quoting Goethe : “I am what I am, so take me as I am” and emphasised on the universal concepts of individuality, liberty and dignity of the individual, right to privacy, equality of rights and freedom of expression, and highlighted the constitutional principles of transformative constitutionalism and constitutional morality and the doctrines of progressive realisation and non-retrogression of rights.[citation needed]

Hailing the right to freedom of speech and expression while staying the ban on the movie “Padmavaat” by certain States, Justice Misra held that cinemas as an art form are an inseparable part of right to free speech and expression.[citation needed]

While upholding the marriage of Kerala Muslim convert girl Hadiya with Shafin Jahan in the Hadiya court case, he observed that the right to marry a person of one's choice is integral to right to life and liberty and further, choosing a faith is the substratum of individuality and sans it, the right of choice becomes a shadow.[citation needed]

In Shakti Vahini v. Union of India, deprecating honour killing and honour crimes, Justice Misra wrote that honour killing guillotines individual liberty and freedom of choice and that assertion of choice is an insegregable facet of liberty and dignity. He further wrote : “any kind of torture or torment or ill-treatment in the name of honour that tantamount to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage by an assembly, whatsoever nomenclature it assumes, is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence”. He also observed, “class honour, howsoever perceived, cannot smother the choice of an individual which he or she is entitled to enjoy under our compassionate Constitution.”[20]

Justice Misra, in his judgment on mob vigilantism and lynching, condemned the horrendous acts of mobocracy and observed that it cannot be allowed to become the “new normal”. He stated that it has to be curbed with an iron hand and that no citizen can be allowed to take the law into his own hands or become law unto himself and further issued a slew of directions, including preventive, punitive and remedial measures, to deal with the crime.[21]

He had upheld the constitutionality of the criminal defamation as a reasonable restriction on free speech under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution stating that reputation cannot be allowed to be sullied on the anvil of free speech which is not absolute.[citation needed]

He was also part of the Bench of the Supreme Court's seven senior-most judges who convicted then Calcutta High Court judge C. S. Karnan of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months' imprisonment.[22]

He was part of the bench that ordered playing of the National Anthem in the beginning of a film in theatres as mandatory, which requires the audience to stand up when it is played.[23] Later, he modified the order to clarify with regard to differently abled people and further relaxed it while stating that if a cinema chose to play the National Anthem, people would have to stand up as a mark of honour and respect.

He was part of the bench that ruled out Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code dealing with adultery.[24] On 27 September 2018, Misra read the judgment that adultery will no longer be a criminal offence, but can serve as a reason for other civil issues, such as divorce.[25]

He is hailed as a 'warrior of gender equality' as he led various constitutional benches which passed historic judgements that upheld equal rights for women and the LGBT community, like the scrapping of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, legalising homosexuality by partially striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and allowing entry for women of menstruating age group into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.[26]


On 12 January 2018, four senior judges of the Supreme Court; Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph addressed a press conference criticising Misra's style of administration and allocation of cases. However, people close to Misra refuted these allegations.[27][28][29] Legal experts like Soli Sorabjee and Ujjwal Nikam said that this rebellion of the four judges against the Chief Justice of India is going to hurt the judiciary by eroding public faith in it.[30]

On 20 April 2018, seven opposition parties submitted a petition seeking impeachment of Misra to the Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, with signatures from seventy-one parliamentarians.[31] On 23 April 2018, the petition was rejected by Venkaiah Naidu, primarily on the basis that the complaints were about the internal administration and not misbehaviour, and that thus impeachment would seriously interfere with the constitutionally protected independence of the judiciary.[32][33][34]


  1. ^ a b Rautray, Samanwaya (9 August 2017). "Dipak Misra, the Man behind Nation Anthem ruling to be next CJI". The Economic Times. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Hon'ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra". Supreme Court of India. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  3. ^ Maneesh Chhibber (1 October 2012). "The courtrooom cast after presidential reference". The Indian Express. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  4. ^ Bhardwaj, Ankur (3 October 2018). "Tenure of CJI Dipak Misra: 400 days of tumult for the 'Master of Roster'". Business Standard.
  5. ^ Deshpande, Swati (15 May 2016). "He taught me that law needs to have a human face". The Times of India.
  6. ^ a b Mittal, Priyanka (8 August 2017). "Justice Dipak Misra to be next Chief Justice of India". Livemint. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  7. ^ "CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA AND SITTING HON'BLE JUDGES ARRANGED ACCORDING TO DATE OF APPOINTMENT AS ON 29 September 2012". Supreme Court of India. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Ranjan Gogoi sworn in as Chief Justice of India: All you need to know - Times of India". The Times of India. 3 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Delhi HC bids farewell to CJ Dipak Misra". Zee News. PTI. 5 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Supreme Court upholds High court's decision to quash quota in promotion". The Times of India. 28 April 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  11. ^ "SC quashes quota benefits in promotions". The Hindu. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  12. ^ "U.P.Power Corp.Ltd. vs Rajesh Kumar & Ors. on 27 April 2012". IndianKanoon.org. Archived from the original on 10 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  13. ^ "SC judge who rejected Yakub Memon's plea gets threat letter". Hindustan Times. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  14. ^ "When SC opened its doors at 3 am for Yakub - Rediff.com India News". www.rediff.com. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  15. ^ "How Yakub Memon was hanged- The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Nirbhaya gangrape case: Supreme Court verdict on convicts plea challenging their death sentence shortly". India Today. ANI. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  17. ^ Rajagopal, Krishnadas (5 May 2017). "Delhi gang rape case: SC confirms death for four". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Cauvery verdict: SC directs Karnataka to release 177.25 tmc water to Tamil Nadu". The Economic Times. 16 February 2018.
  19. ^ "CJI Dipak Misra retirement: From Aadhaar to Ayodhya, Chief Justice of India leaves rich legacy with landmark judgements; here's a list". The Financial Express. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  20. ^ Ashok K. M. (27 March 2018). "Right To Choose Life Partner Is A Fundamental Right, Consent Of Family, Community, Clan Not Necessary For Marriage Between Two Adults: SC [Read Judgment]". Live Law.
  21. ^ "Horrendous acts of mobocracy can't be allowed, create law against it, SC asks government". The Economic Times. Press Trust of India. 17 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Supreme Court sends Justice Karnan to jail for contempt, gags press on him". The Indian Express. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  23. ^ "The man behind National Anthem ruling will be next CJI: 7 things about Dipak Misra". The Economic Times. Economic Times. Economic Times. 9 August 2017.
  24. ^ "Historic verdicts delivered during CJI Dipak Misra's tenure | India News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  25. ^ Biswas, Soutik (27 September 2018). "Adultery no longer a criminal offence in India". BBC News. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  26. ^ "CJI Dipak Misra, a judicial warrior who stood against gender injustice". Times of India.
  27. ^ "Turmoil in Supreme Court as four judges speak out against Chief Justice Dipak Misra". Hindustan Times. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  28. ^ Mahapatra, Dhananjay; Choudhary, Amit Anand (13 January 2018). "Four top judges revolt against CJI; Supreme Court on trial". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  29. ^ Dev, Atul. "Dipak Misra's shadow over the Supreme Court". The Caravan. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  30. ^ "'All four should be impeached': Ex-judge lashes out at Supreme Court justices who held press conference". First Post. 12 January 2018. I think all four judges should be impeached. They have no business to sit there and deliver verdicts anymore. This trade unionism is wrong. Democracy in danger is not for them to say. We have parliament, courts, police functioning.
  31. ^ "Chief Justice Dipak Misra Faces Impeachment Motion, 71 Have Signed: 10 Facts". NDTV. Archived from the original on 20 April 2018.
  32. ^ Phukan, Sandeep (23 April 2018). "Venkaiah Naidu rejects impeachment motion against CJI". The Hindu.
  33. ^ "Decision to reject impeachment motion against CJI was not hasty: Venkaiah Naidu". The Times of India. PTI. 23 April 2018. Archived from the original on 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  34. ^ "10 reasons why Venkaiah Naidu rejected the impeachment notice against CJI Dipak Misra". The Times of India. 23 April 2018. Archived from the original on 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
Legal offices
Preceded by Chief Justice of India
28 August 2017 – 2 October 2018
Succeeded by